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13th May 2023

“There’s a reason I’m called ‘The Future'” – Ian Garry wins big at Charlotte

Patrick McCarry

Ian Garry

“It’s somewhere I’ve taken my wife and it is special to me, and there’s a boat going by… “

Ian Garry is days out from a fight that could see him jump into the UFC welterweight rankings, yet has an extremely relaxed demeanour.

After receiving a mini pep-talk from his wife, Layla, and waving over to his infant son – playing on the grass nearby – the Dubliner launches into our Zoom interview with verve. We only have a short window to chat and such is Garry’s eagerness to wax lyrical that we get in three proper questions then sit back and watch him cook.

Garry [11-0] has had an impressive start to his UFC career, appearing on the cards for four pay-per-view fights in a row. On Saturday, he faced 36-year-old Daniel Rodriguez, on Saturday at UFC Charlotte, and a win would jump him into those 170lb rankings. Once there, the prospect of bigger fights opens up.

That was the theory and this was Garry putting it into practice to go for that perfect dozen:

‘This is elite. This is the next level’

We catch up with Garry at the river-side house that he is staying in ahead of his fight. “I am at my beautiful fight week, future house for UFC Charlotte,” he says. “And this is the house where I am going to enjoy and experience becoming the top 15 ranked fighter in the world. It is absolutely stunning… we have got this big beautiful countryside home that is just stunning.

“We have got this beautiful, beautiful fresh calm river with all the wildlife behind us to enjoy. We’ve got kayaks and paddle boards in the garage that we are absolutely gonna take advantage of and run with during the week, and have some fun.

“When I talk about being the future path, this is part of being the future and changing the game and elevating what I believe is to be more elite in the next level.

“Nobody can sit here and argue with me and tell me that this isn’t more elite than being stuck in a fighter hotel, being stuck in a fight, a hotel where you’ve got one room where there you can’t open a window where you’ve got a sink in a bathroom so close to that in your bed.

“And it’s like you can barely pee without waking up to people in the room and someone flushes the toilet next door to you hear it. This is elite. This is the next level to ensuring the family and team vibe that I have created.”

“My whole team is here with that,” Garry adds. “While we’re all here, we all experience it – gonna have the meals together, we’re going to train together, we’re gonna travel together.

“You know, we’ve got our big cars at the front that we look like a, a like a presidential squad pulling up to a venue with the two big fucking Black Chevrolet Tahoes. This is a luxury and just a beautiful place to be able to sit here with my family and friends and enjoy a week that can potentially be so hectic and stressful. When you come here, you forget about everything.”

Ian GarryIan Garry (right) of Ireland punches Gabriel Green in their welterweight bout during UFC 276 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Ian Garry on fond Dublin memories

After racing to a Cage Warriors welterweight title, it was announced in 2021 that Ian Garry had been signed up by the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

He had a KO win over Jordan Williams in his UFC debut then had two decision wins that, positive as they were, slowed his momentum. A TKO win over Kenan Song, earlier this year, put some wind back in his sails.

Garry has been in the USA for the past two years, as he chases the big UFC fights, and he admits he does not get back to Dublin as much as he would like. Asked what thoughts flood his head when he ponders the word ‘Dublin’, he takes a moment and launches into a love letter:

“Portmarnock Beach, High Rock, that walk of the coast from Portmarnock to Malahide. I love the scenery of that entire countryside, like that entire walk. I miss Howth. I miss going out to Howth and going on the cliff walks and I just… there’s a specific spot in Howth that I absolutely love and adore. It is somewhere I have taken my wife, and it is special to me.

“There’s a lot of see, like stuff that I remember as a kid from doing with my parents and then going with like the love of my life and enjoying those walks. I miss it a lot. I miss Dublin.

“I don’t miss the grey skies but I miss everything else about it… a lot of it is to do with actually Dublin as a whole. I miss where I’m from. I miss where I grew up. I miss my apartment that I got that I had to get rid of because I knew that the journey of travelling.

“I had a beautiful apartment in Santry. And it gets me emotional when I think about it because I fucking fell in love with it. I fell in love with it. I like everything about it. I’m getting a bit emotional now thinking about it. It was the first place I’ve ever called home that wasn’t my parents’ house.

“It was where me and my wife got a got to spend time together and she would go off and work in her, her place like her, her stuff would all be there. And I’d come home from training, I’d come home from golf. I come home from being out with my friends and she wouldn’t necessarily be there all the time, but it would be my place. Her stuff would be in the right spots.

“And yeah, it was a home and I’ve not… I literally don’t have a home at the moment. I got rid of that to travel the world and stay in Air BnBs. Obviously, it’s a blessing and it’s an adventure and it’s a journey, but it hasn’t come without sacrifice. That sacrifice, while I love it, it still tugs the heart strings strings every now and then. I still look at photos and I tear up, right now. I just, yeah, it gets me emotional because I miss it. I love it.

“I’ve spent my entire life in Dublin, in Ireland,” he says, “and the only reason I’ve left is to go and pursue my dream. That’s it.”

Ian Garry

‘There’s a reason I’m called The Future

Ian Garry knows victory over Daniel Rodriguez, who has career wins over Kevin Lee, Mike Perry and Tim Means, will get him into the UFC welterweight rankings.

Asked if this will be his toughest test yet, the 25-year-old says, “Like you could, you could make that argument.

“I don’t believe so due to what I believe he’s going to bring to the table and how good I am and what I’ve brought to the table now up until this point, I’m the growth and evolution of my career.

“You could make that argument, but I can tell you right now that on Saturday night, May 13th, there isn’t gonna be a question about how much better than him I am. There isn’t gonna be any question marks about where I can go.

“People are gonna see it evident, the skill set, the potential that this kid has. There’s a reason I’m called ‘The Future’ and we’re gonna find out on Saturday night when I prove it and earn that number 15 spot in the world.

“And the truth is Danny Rodriguez is irrelevant. He’s got that number 15 spot and my job is to go out there and take it. I’m gonna make sure that there is no doubt that I am one of the best fighters on this planet.”

Garry speaks enthusiastically about bringing the UFC back to Dublin and sharing a main card slot with Conor McGregor in the headline role.

When we tell him that a victory on Saturday would bring UFC’s return to Dublin much closer, he tells us, “I’m going to make it happen, don’t you worry!

“I promise you, I promise you have my word that it is going to happen.”

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